“Fate of the Furious,” which released on April 14, is the eighth installment in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise and is directed by F. Gary Gray. This latest adventure follows Dominic Toretto, played by Vin Diesel, as he betrays his team and allies himself with a dangerous cyber-terrorist, played by Charlize Theron.
The character growth of Toretto and his wife Letty Ortiz, played by Michelle Rodriguez, is in the forefront of the film. Their relationship, built since the franchise started in 2001, is strained after Toretto betrays the team. This leads the film to have more emotional heft than previous installments.
Family is an important concept throughout the series which makes the absence of the recurring character Brian O’Conner, played by the late Paul Walker, noticeable. While this is not the first film to omit him, it’s the first to star the main cast of the franchise without him. The film treats both his death and the character with respect by giving his character a believable reason for absence.
The film carries a darker theme without becoming depressing. Other characters offer up comedic relief with their lighter personalities. There are plenty of laughs to be had while not feeling inappropriate to the more serious moments. Most notable in the movie, is the comical banter between Dwayne Johnson’s character Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Decker Shaw. Once adversaries in previous installments, they’re forced to work together in order to stop Toretto. They throw the resulting banter with each other, reminiscent of schoolyard insults, and bring a lively chemistry to the cast.
The film, unfortunately, has such a big cast that the limited screen time couldn’t do everyone justice. This is most evident with the characters Tej Parker and Ramsey, played by Ludacris and
Nathalie Emmanuel, respectively. The characters’ personalities are nearly non-existent in “Fate of the Furious,” a stark difference from their character depth in previous movies.
One personality that doesn’t shine through is that of Tyrese Gibson’s returning character Roman Pearce. His running gag of trying to take credit for other characters’ work wears thin and his constant complaining makes the character sound whiney.
The action, however, in “Fate of the Furious” is well done. Though some major action movies feature sequences that can be choppy or dizzying, the scenes in this film are shot cleanly with concise action and little editing. The smooth filmmaking allows audience members to process the action without confusion from a jumbled camera effect.
The steadiness of the camera results in stunning and realistic fight sequences. Although as the film progresses, the action gets harder to believe. Each action scene is highly memorable and of great quality; the best one involves a wrecking ball.
Despite the problems, “Fate of the Furious” isn’t any less enjoyable. It ties into the previous films well enough to please fans while confusing newcomers. Overall it’s a fun action movie that many will enjoy.